Not in the Grave

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My earliest Easter memory is of sitting in a gym…or outside on a football field of some sort…with my Grandma Jo and my mom at the crack of dawn for the town’s Sunrise Easter Service.

I was too young to remember the location of the service, but I know we went for a few years, just the three of us. Or at least I only remember it being the three of us.

I vividly remember all the flowers and the scent of spring wafting through the gathered believers. I also remember sitting next to my grandma, her soft hand holding mine sometimes, and her wavery grandma voice loudly singing “Christ the Lord has risen today…Alleluia! ”

Her favorite flower was the yellow tulip and each year for the past nine years, Cortney and I have added a yellow tulip to the Easter garden in the front of our own church for the Easter service.

No longer do I get up at dawn and to attend a musical extravaganza of praise and rejoicing, but I do dress my boys in matching sweater vests and close my eyes and feel my grandma’s soft hand on mine while I sing “Because He lives” and with each “Alleluia” I hear her voice echoing through the church.

After the sunrise service, my mom and I would meet my dad and brothers and go to our church for the regular service, and then head to my grandma’s house for an Easter egg hunt with all my cousins. She always had those large, pastel-colored marshmallowy eggs, malted eggs, Reeses eggs, gum eggs, and lots and lots of jelly beans. While we hunted she would still be singing.

I also can remember my mom’s singing on Easter. Like her mother, she loves the holiday.

Easter is the most joyous day on the Christian calendar, and it is the day I remember my grandma and her love of spring, flowers, and her savior. I also think of how much like my grandmother my mom is. She sings with her grandchildren and spoils them with treats and toys for Easter as well (Cort’s mom does the Easter egg hunt for our kids which I am so grateful for. She is making memories our kids will remember forever).

In thirteen years since her death, I have never been to my Grandma Jo’s grave.

I don’t believe she is there.

Like her savior, she arose.

And on days like today, I feel that presence in the songs, the bright sunshine, and the smiles on my boys’ faces.

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Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior,
waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord.

Vainly they watch his bed, Jesus my Savior,
vainly the seal the dead, Jesus my Lord.

Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Savior,
he tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord.

Up from the grave he arose;
with a mighty triumph o’er his foes;
he rose a victor from the dark domain,
and he lives forever with his saints to reign.

He arose! He arose! Hallelujah, Christ arose!

“Up From The Grave”, my favorite Easter hymn.

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Today I am the featured working mama over at Breadwinning Mama. Come check me out!

Adventures in Chicago

Since Charlie’s birth Cortney and I have been talking about taking Eddie away for an adventure with just us–free of his little brother. Every time we planned something, it fell through due to sickness.  Luckily, we were able to make it happen this year over spring break.

We planned a trip to Chicago.  Eddie knows about Chicago and he knows my best friend and her little family live there. We have a book called Goodnight, Chicago that we have read since he was very small, so he knows a lot of the major attractions that are there. The plan was that Charlie would go to daycare on Friday and get picked up by my mom for the weekend.  We would take Eddie on the road and not tell him where we were taking him.

But I really suck at keeping fun secrets, so I spilled the beans a couple days before the trip.

His reaction did not disappoint.

This was his calmed down excited face.

This was his calmed down excited face.

We talked and talked about it. He asked a million questions.

The last time he stayed in a hotel he was just a year old, so he didn’t remember. He wanted to know if he should bring his entire bed. He wanted to know if Chicago had roads and bathrooms. He wanted to know if we should pack our pans and bowls and forks.

This was going to be fun.

Friday Charlie went to daycare like planned (after I gave him a million hugs and kisses), and the rest of us headed for Chi Town. Eddie was an excellent rider. Cortney loaded up his tablet with a few movies, but Eddie was mostly happy listening to Kidz Bop and asking a million questions.  Plus he only needed to stop to pee twice in the almost three-hour drive.

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Since we couldn’t check into our hotel until 3pm, we drove straight to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Even though he was a good passenger and we all had some snacks on the drive, it was past our lunch time, so some of us had no interest in seeing animals first thing.

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So after taking a quick peek at the pink flamingos, we headed straight for lunch. Again, Eddie did a fantastic job of patiently waiting in line even though I knew he was totally hungry. And when I asked him if he wanted chips or an apple with his ham and cheese sandwich, he chose an apple. He’s a good kid.

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Everyone was much happier after sandwiches were in tummies, so we headed out to see the animals.

Eddie was not as impressed as I thought he would be. He would take a glance and then say, “can we move on?”

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He wasn’t all that impressed with the huge giraffes or hippos or rhinos.  Cortney and I could have stood and watched some of these animals for quite a while, but Eddie was mostly uninterested.  Even the camels who were wiggling their humps couldn’t grab his attention for more than a “cool”.

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The Ape House was one of the only places he really loved to sit and watch. The gorillas were amazing. It was feeding time and they all came so close to the window. There were even a couple tiny baby gorillas. Eddie sat in one of the windows to watch, but jumped a mile when the big daddy gorilla came too close for his liking.

We didn’t get to all the animals in the zoo because Eddie got a splinter and threw a minor fit, so we decided it was time to motor to the hotel. Eddie was excited to see what the hotel would be like anyway.

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After the zoo we were going to meet my bestie and her hubby and baby for dinner, but the baby wasn’t feeling too well, so the Sluiters did dinner on our own. We went to the Weber Grill which was only a block from our hotel. It was the first time we ever took Eddie to a restaurant where the napkins were actual linens.  He was very impressed, and said, “oops, they gave me two forks. I’ll share with you, mom.”

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They had a REALLY nice kid’s menu and Eddie dug right in. He was super impressed with the fruit, broccoli, and tots. He was less impressed with the mac n cheese…probably because it was deliciously homemade and not from a box. I was very pleased with Eddie’s restaurant behavior. He was super polite and did a great job eating up his dinner. He even got a chocolate chip cookie sundae at the end of the meal.

When we got back to the hotel Eddie was crawling up the walls with the desire to get in the pool.  So Cort suited up and the boys swam for a big hour before it was time to get ready for bed.

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Our room was a studio suite, so we had a kitchenette area, a living area with a pull-out couch for Eddie and a separate bedroom/bathroom for us. After that huge day, he tried to tell us at 9pm (which was 10pm our time, a full 2.5 hours after his normal bedtime), that he wasn’t tired. But the yawning started and sleep wasn’t too far after that.

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On Saturday morning, we had breakfast and headed to Shedd Aquarium. Because there is no good public transportation other than a taxi, we decided to drive our own car, park at Soldier Field and walk to the aquarium. The weather was perfect.

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The line was sort of long to get in, but as far as what I expected on a Saturday morning, it wasn’t too bad. The wind was really strong though and the radar showed storms north, so we were happy when we made it inside.

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Eddie was less interested in the aquarium than he was the zoo. I felt sort of bad, but I realized about 20 minutes in that he is more of a hands on DO-ER than a walk around and LOOK-ER. Anytime there were screens to scroll through the fish in a particular tank and look at their food/habitats, he found it and swiped through while Cort and I tried to get a look.

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Again he got pretty crabby and asked to leave a million times so he could swim in the hotel pool rather than walk around an aquarium. We had lunch and things got a bit better. He liked watching the dolphins and seeing the jelly fish and beluga whales and sharks. Ok he was actually sort of scared of the sharks.

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When it was time to leave he chose a tiger shark to take home, and then asked if we could get a beluga whale for Charlie.  It was very sweet. Everywhere we went that was set up for four (mostly in restaurants), he would comment on how the empty seat was for Charlie. I know he missed his brother and felt a little off without him.

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After the aquarium it was only just afternoon, so Eddie begged me to go swimming, and I did. Barely. I really don’t love to swim in hotel pools and so when Cort got back from a frappaccino run for me, he got in the pool with Eddie and I chatted with a nice couple from Indiana who have two little boys as well.

Around 4:30 Eddie said he was ready to be done and maybe get dinner. I asked him what he wanted and he said, “pizza and an apple.”  He can be pretty specific.

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While Eddie munched his apple, Cortney and I decided on some pizza joints to check out. Once Eddie was done and we ventured out, we nixed all our plans for Chicago Pizza since I don’t even like deep dish and the wait is like a million years or something.  Instead, we went to California Pizza Kitchen where Eddie could get a cheese and black olive pizza.

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And Cortney could try a new beer (Brooklyn Local 1)…

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And I could get a nice beverage too.  Eddie again was awesome–even chatting up our waiter–and earned himself yet another sundae.

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After dinner we decided to walk two blocks to a new/used book store Cort spotted from our hotel room. I took Eddie to the children’s books with the intention of buying him one with my saved money. Then I found out something awesome about Cort: if he drinks a REALLY big beer with his dinner, he will treat us ALL TO BOOKS!  So Eddie picked out The Diggingest Dog for himself and Little Gorilla for his brother. Cort found himself a Neil Young book and I got Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

We then walked the block back to our hotel.

Eddie was bummed that it was getting too late for more swimming, but we appeased him by popping some popcorn and watching Animal Planet’s “Too Cute” with him.

At 8pm I read him our chapter in Charlotte’s Web, but he fell asleep before I could finish.

Eddie had a great time on his adventure, though he says if we go again he would like more time in the pool…and maybe have his brother along.

That made me happy, because I missed The Bird like crazy.

But it was a good trip. It was good for us to hear everything Eddie had to say without a toddler stealing our attention. It was fun to make a weekend all about Eddie–we learned a lot about him, and were amazed all over again that less than six years ago it was just the two of us…and just five years ago we were on the verge of parenthood.

At one point I nodded to Eddie scarfing his sundae and smiled at Cort saying, “we made that.”

“Yeah. It’s pretty neat,” he replied.

Spring Showed Up for Spring Break

After all the cold and the sick…Spring showed up on Monday, four days into spring break.

These guys were closed when we played outside in the chilly morning, but after Charlie’s nap they had opened right up.

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As soon as I opened the door Monday morning, the boys BUSTED out at full speed.

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It was pretty overcast and chilly (still in the 40′s) and we only lasted about 45 minutes that first time out, but  man. It was so needed.

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After Charlie’s nap, we went out again because it was almost 20 degrees warmer. That meant coats and hats could be ditched for hoodies!

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Charlie finally got to try out his scooter that Grandpa and Grandma gave him for Christmas.

He didn’t really understand that he had to push with one of his feet. He kept saying, “Push? Mama push?”

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So he went back to his coupe.

I tried to take Eddie’s picture too, but he giggled as he zoomed by and all I got was blur.

Then he got a hole in his bike tire and he was a bit pouty.

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Wednesday was another beautiful day. Warm AND sunny!

That clearly meant that every outdoor toy we own needed to come out of storage.

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During Charlie’s nap I tried to get some work done. I had stuff for school and some homework things I wanted to do. Eddie watched TV for a little bit, but the sunny, warm day was too much.

He begged me to play with him.

I put him off twice and then realized I was insane.

We spent an hour chalking up the driveway.  The first thing we did?

Trace each other holding hands.

I have tightness on my face from the sun shining on it.

It feels great.

filling space

I fell asleep on the couch Sunday afternoon after struggling with more GI bug issues. Apparently it’s a county-wide issue. I was blessed with it not once, but twice. Awesome.

Anyway, I fell asleep on the couch Sunday.

I always lie on my side with my legs bent at the knee.

Tucked in that space that my bent legs make, Eddie snuggles himself in and under my blanket to watch a movie quietly.

That is where he always fits, into the space I leave open.

If I am in the chair, he somehow finds his way up there too, even though he has long outgrown being two in that chair. But I can’t kick him out. This chair is where “we” began.

And so he fills any space that is left. His long legs sprawled over my lap, his head finding my shoulder.

When I put him to bed, we read a chapter book–right now it’s Winnie the Pooh. A chapter a night. Sometimes two if he asks really nice because I can’t say no to just one more chapter.

Once the light goes off, and our chatting stops, his breath becomes heavy and regular and he rolls into me, again filling the space.

When I am sitting on the couch, so is he…up against me so close there is no room for space. It’s instinctive to him to fill up any space between us.

When he was an infant, there was a lot of space between us, so much so that I sought help.

That was four years ago.

He was almost a year old.

I spent his whole first year putting distance between us because I was sick. But I didn’t have GI issues. Nope, I had brain issues.

Medication and therapy helped but it was a long road.

Now each time I noticed him right by my side, I smile because he doesn’t remember. He has no recollection of our hard start. What he knows is that his mom is his safe place–his protection from bears in his nightmares, as he says.

What he also doesn’t know is that he is my safe place too.

Every time I look at him I think of how far I have come and how I am so SO lucky to have him as my boy.

Sunday Drive: The Preschooler Questions it All

Mommy? Can boys have ponytails?

It was quiet other than the Kidz Bop version of “What Does the Fox Say” playing in my car and the soft sound of Eddie singing along. In the space between that song and the next, his question floated into the front seat.

It muted the sound on the CD player.

Yes. I mean, if their hair is long enough for one of course. Why do you ask?

Eddie has always been curious about what is for boys and what is for girls. Every time I think we do a good job of getting him to understand that you can like whatever you want regardless of your gender, he comes back with more questions. I know this is because society (and the kids he plays with) tells him a different message than Cortney and I do.

Because kids say only girls can have ponytails.

It seems like at least once a week he is questioning some sort of gender stereotype. While sometimes I feel frustrated that he seems sad that something he loves if for girls, I am glad he keeps asking.

Well that is not true!  Your uncle Chris had really long hair when he was a teenager and he wore it in a ponytail sometimes.  And LOTS of rock stars have long hair they wear in ponytails. 

Eddie likes quite a few things that other kids might deem “girl stuff.” He likes the color pink sometimes (his favorite color changes with the day). He likes princesses; in fact one of his favorite movies is Cinderella. He has a doll. He likes to choose “girl” temporary tattoos. He thinks ponytails are pretty (he gets that from his dad) and told me once that a girl in his class had the prettiest two ponytails “in the wide world”.

But not all rock stars, right? Some have short hair like me. Sometimes kids laugh at things I like and say it’s for babies or for girls.

Eddie has also been worried about kids laughing at him.

This breaks my heart, but I know it’s normal. He wants kids to like him and he is afraid if they are laughing at him (or his choices) they won’t like him.

Well that isn’t very nice of them. When did something like that happen?

At school N– said that my tattoo is because I like baby bears. Pink baby bears.

I don’t see how baby bears is a baby thing OR a girl thing. If you like it, it’s a YOU thing.

He was quiet for a while after that. I know he was just thinking.  For as much as he chatters on and on to me, I know he is thinking even more. Rolling things over in his mind trying to find meaning and peace.

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I changed the subject.

So what character do you want to be for Wednesday at school? Which book character are you going to dress up as?

He was quick to answer.

I said I want to be Leo Lionni.

I smiled. What four-year old has a favorite author rather than character? My four-year old, that’s who.

Right, Eddie, but you are supposed to dress up like someone from one of his books that he wrote. Did you still want to be one of the dots from that Blue and Yellow story you read at school?

There was a pause.

Will kids laugh at me?

My stomach fell all the way to my seat. Why did he worry about these things? Did kids really laugh at him?  His teacher said all the kids liked him and that he was a leader. Was he just mistaken? Did he not believe he was good enough? Good grief, did my four-year old have low self-esteem??

Honey, why would they laugh at you? It’s a very creative idea!

Kids just laugh sometimes. I don’t want to be laughed at.

Are you sure they aren’t just smiling because they LIKE you and your ideas? Sometimes kids laugh when they think things and people are really cool. 

And then he must have tired of the subject because he started talking about the game he is currently obsessed with on Cortney’s tablet. Something about a farm.

The next day I picked up green posterboard (he decided to be the Green Dot from Little Blue and Little Yellowand Cortney and I constructed a sandwich board green dot for Eddie.

leo lionni green dot

He was a hit! His teacher thought it was very clever and creative, and I loved it because it was the easiest costume ever.

And nobody laughed at my buddy.

This is how our Sunday drives home from church go. We drive separately because we have Sunday School, and somewhere between church and the Starbucks drive through, Eddie’s thoughts pour out.

He asks all the questions and gives his theory on all the things from how great it would be to have coffee/hot chocolate with just me INSIDE Starbucks, to how he wonders what people look like in heaven.

Sometimes his questions break my heart, but each day I pray that he always feels comfortable enough with me to ask.

And I hope he knows that I will never, ever laugh at him.

The Trouble With Sippy Cups

Sippy cups are the bane of my existence.

When Eddie was tiny we found a brand/style that we liked (and that didn’t leak everywhere), but have never found them anywhere ever again. Since then we have tried every single brand that has been recommended to us with mixed results.

In the end, they all leak to some degree.

I know I am not alone when I say that there is nothing more maddening than finding a sippy cup behind a chair that has leaked milk all over the carpet or juice all over the couch.

There are milk spots all over our leather furniture.

So we gave the First Years One Piece Lid Sippy Cups a try.

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I said yes to trying them, but quite honestly I was pretty skeptical. We have had ZERO luck with lids that didn’t have the little stopper thing in them. I gave Eddie and Charlie some juice in them, and Eddie said they were hard to drink out of. That was good news to me because it meant they were just flowing all over my carpet.

Charlie didn’t say anything. He just drank his juice and then tossed the cup in the sink.  So you know, thumbs up from The Bird.

They have been through our dishwasher twice now and are holding up–the suck hole (for lack of a better term) isn’t getting blown out and leaky yet which was a fear of mine.

Another positive is that the entire line of First Years cups has interchangeable one-piece lids. This is key in our house because we have a zillion different sippies all with their own lid and their own style stopper thingy. It’s annoying. So if these sippy cups live up to their name and do not leak all over Sluiter Nation? I have no problem doing a full sweep of the old ones and restocking with these.

TFY One Piece Lid Giveaway Graphic for Bloggers

I mean, what will I do with all the extra time I will have?  I won’t be cleaning up leaks or searching for sippy cup pieces! I can actually write a book!

Maybe?

Maybe read a book.

Ok, I can watch a show.

Anyway, what would YOU do with extra time for yourself?  The First Years wants to know!

Each week The First Years is giving away prizes, and on Mother’s Day three parents who enter this contest will receive a surprise they won’t soon forget: their wishes (valued up to $1,000) will be fulfilled! Visit The First Years Facebook Page to enter. Contest runs April 1 to 30, 2014. See official rules for complete details.

The First Years Gripper Sipper, MSRP $7.99 (2 pack) is for ages 9 months and up and available in-store at Walmart and online at Walmart.com and Amazon.com

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Disclaimer: I was provided with a 2-pack of The First Years sippy cups to try out, but I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Charlie Krat

netflix

Charlie has never cared about the TV. He is the complete opposite of his brother in that regard.

If a TV is on, Eddie’s life pauses and he will sit directly in front of the boob tube and get immersed in anything that is on it.  He will even get into the news and ask questions and talk about what is on.

We have to be careful about what is on when he is around.

Charlie has never, ever cared.

If the TV is not on, he will point out that it’s not on, but he really doesn’t pay any attention to what is on it.

At two, we could turn on PBS and Eddie would be good for hours (if we let him…not that we ever did that. Ahem). Charlie will sit and watch Curious George or Octonauts before bed if he’s REALLY tired. Otherwise he just plays.

There is one show, however, that we noticed that Charlie has fallen in love with: Wild Krats.

Or Krat Krats, as he calls it.

You should know that Charlie is in love with all animals. All of them.

His favorite books are any book that requires pointing out animals and what they say.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear is in HEAVY rotation right now.

We are home between 5:00 and 5:15pm every day after school/work/daycare, and every day at 5:30pm, Charlie shouts “KRAT KRATS!” from wherever he is the second an animal appears on our TV.

He’s pretty uninterested in the actual cartoon part of the show, but the parts with the actual Krat brothers showing animals? He squeals and laughs and points and get so excited!

Always after school: Eddie on the tablet and Charlie watching "Krat Krats" while I make dinner.

Always after school: Eddie on the tablet and Charlie watching “Krat Krats” while I make dinner.

We recently discovered that Netflix has Wild Krats.

It is impossible to scroll through the options without Charlie seeing those animated brothers and yelling “KRAT KRATS!” In fact, if that is not what Eddie is choosing (Ninjago is on his fave list right now), Charlie generally has a fit. Luckily, we can get Netflix on every TV in the house thanks to the Tivo, the Wii, and the Roku, so Charlie can watch in another room.

What are your kids watching lately?

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and will be sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. As a member of the Stream Team I was provided with a Roku and a voucher to apply towards my Netflix account. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Through The Lens Thursday {March}

At the beginning of the year I decided to join my friends Greta and Alison and their year-long photography project called Through The Lens Thursday. You don’t need a blog to join in, just join our Flickr group and post each week! It’s great for practicing photography in a low pressure, fun way.

I know I’m posting this on a Friday, but that’s because I didn’t have it together because of being sick and then my birthday to have it post yesterday.

I think we will all live.

Anyway, this month I tried to think of cool “takes” on the shots. But mostly it ended up with me going, “aw crap. Through The Lens Thursday is today. I gotta shoot something.”

It’s been busy. But I tried. Here is what I got:

Prompt: Hot  (heh...ok...just kidding, but there is nothing hotter than a good daddy). 50mm fixed 1/60, f/1.8, ISO 100

Prompt: Hot (heh…ok…just kidding, but there is nothing hotter than a good daddy).
50mm fixed
1/60, f/1.8, ISO 100

Prompt: Hot (my real shot) 50mm fixed 1/25,f/4.5, ISO 400

Prompt: Hot (my real shot)
50mm fixed
1/25,f/4.5, ISO 400

prompt: dark 50mm fixed 1/8, f/1.8, ISO 100

prompt: dark
50mm fixed
1/8, f/1.8, ISO 100

prompt: door 50mm fixed 1/30, f/1.8, ISO 100

prompt: door
50mm fixed
1/30, f/1.8, ISO 100

prompt: looking down 50 mm fixed f/4.5, 1/10, ISO 100

prompt: looking down
50 mm fixed
f/4.5, 1/10, ISO 100

So this week was more about keeping up with the habit rather than taking the time for good shots (which is evidenced by that last one…oof). but next month…I can feel it.

Spring is coming and so is better light.

Daylight is lasting longer.

I also have a sweet zoom lens I got for Christmas that I can’t wait to bust out and learn. Tips? Anyone have tips for using a zoom?

Or any other tips? I am pretty much completely dumb about ISO other than I know it makes your photos grainy if it’s too high. Sooo…when would you go high?

Also…come play along! Join our Flickr group!

Birthday Throwback

Today is my 36th birthday.

When I told my students how old I am (because yes, I do that), there were some who were genuinely shocked I was out of my 20′s.

While being 36 does not bother me, it made me smile that my students thought I was so young.

I don’t have much to say about this day, so I will just do a big ol’ #ThrowbackThursday for you.

Enjoy some “Vintage” Katie.

Katie - Bibs & Boots

Just Kickin’ it Katie

Katie - 6 months

6 months of Katie

Katie - ANTM

Model Katie

Preschool Katie

Preschool Katie

Tiger Fan Katie

Tiger Fan Katie

high school Katie

high school Katie

Kate-Senior-Pic-001

Senior Picture Katie

college. nuff said.

College Katie

kates

mid Twenties Katie

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Married Katie

bday5 - Copy

First Time Away from Son Katie

097

Mom Katie

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Mid Thirties Katie

Huh. 36 years and my smile has changed zero.

Nice.

Happy day to me.

A Wounded Academic Walks Into A Church…

Holy-Bible_20110524052238There are not many Bible stories that I am not familiar with.

I grew up going to Sunday school ever Sunday, memorizing verses, memorizing catechism, singing making a joyful noise in the choir, participating in dramatizations and skits, and listening to my parents read the BIG Storybook Bible every night after dinner.

I can recall the well-known stories of Creation all the way to the lesser-known stories like the one about Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. There was a time when I could recite by memory John 3:16-21 “For God so loved the world…”

I listened, memorized, and believed without question because it’s what I was supposed to do. Adults were telling me stories and telling me they were complete, literal truth.

As way leads on to way, I grew up. I moved out of my small, sheltered town, and I met people who were not one of the two religions that I knew: Reformed or Christian Reformed. I was even roommates with a couple Catholics.  I know. Crazy.

Even though I pulled away from going to church, I never lost interest in religion. It fascinates me. Not just Christianity, but all religion. Where it comes from and how it is tied up in tradition, oral and written history, and politics.

When it seemed like God had left us–when Cortney’s dad died, we lost babies, and all the other loss and sickness–I leaned heavily on anything that seemed to “disprove” the stories of the Bible.

In college, I took a History of Christianity class. It was incredibly interesting. I tried to talk to my parents about it. I thought they would find it super interesting since they were so devout. But when I started bringing up the idea that perhaps the authors of the Bible weren’t telling literal stories about global floods and people-swallowing whales, my dad flipped out on me.

My dad wouldn’t discuss; he would only tell me I was wrong and that I wasn’t allowed to talk that way in his house.

I was stunned into silence, and I became less willing to talk about Jesus or church with my family. I became convinced that they would judge anything that didn’t fall into the realm of their literal understanding of the Bible.

(Years later, my dad’s reaction to my brother’s news that his girlfriend was pregnant would reveal just how ingrained it was in my dad’s character to being like Jesus, and my heart would change. But that’s another story).

The more I wrestled with what I knew to be true because of research and study and science, the more it seemed that I didn’t fit into any church. I just couldn’t believe something that was disproved over and over. I could not simply say, “I know actual science says something different, but I believe the earth and everything on it was created in seven 24-hour days as we know it.”

I believe God created science to make this world the beautiful marvel it is, but I don’t think it was exactly the way it was written in the Bible.

Even typing that makes me feel a little sacrilegious. I mean, you’re not supposed to say “I don’t believe what the Bible says,” right?

I don’t think a guy named Jonas got swallowed by a whale.

I don’t think there was a Garden of Eden.

I don’t think there was a flood and a guy named Noah put two of every single animal in the wold on a boat.

I do think these are important stories, and I believe the stories…without believing the stories. Does that make sense?

I believe it’s important to do as we are called to do or else things won’t go right.

I believe the world isn’t perfect because there are shitty things like cancer and hunger and poverty.

I believe that God is saddened by the shitty things we do to each other that cause things like cancer, and hunger and poverty, and that he won’t punish the whole for the bad of a few.

We are currently in the season of Lent where we wait and prepare ourselves for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. I both believe and wonder. I have so many questions.

I know what I am supposed to believe blindly, but like Thomas, I need to see the nail marks on his hands and the sword wound in his side. I believe, but my academic, logical side shouts for something to hold on to–something that tells me this is all true.

And I think that like Thomas, that is Ok.  That questioning for the purpose of wanting to understand and believe is Ok.

*************

As of April 19, I will be an official published author!  You can pre-order the book, Three Minus One: Stories of Parents’ Love and Loss, to which I am honored to be a contributing author.

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